Court Seeks Governments Response on Plea Seeking Gender Neutral Toilets across State: Madras High Court
The Madras HC has directed the State to respond to a plea seeking gender impartial public toilets across educational institutes, at bus stops, railway stations, airports & such other public places. and also directed the State counsel to seek instructions & respond to the petition in a week. This was seen in the matter of Case Title: Fred Rogers v. The Chief Secretary & others, Case No: WP 2499 of 2023 presided over by the bench of Acting Chief Justice T Raja & Justice Bharatha Chakravarthy.
FACTS OF THE CASE
The court was hearing a plea filed by transgender person. The petitioner claimed that though transgender persons in the state are given the choice to choose toilets of their own identified gender, in real life they are harassed- verbally, physically & sometimes sexually, incase they try to use the same.
Advocate Arun Kasi, appearing for the petitioner, presented that gender impartial toilets will not only help the gender non-confirming. Non-binary, queer & other communities but will also help the disabled children/parent who need help of others (sometimes from opposite genders) for using the toilets.
The petitioner also presented that such gender impartial toilets would encourage broad & remove the stigma surrounding gender non- conformity. It was argued that providing public toilets to all members of the society is one of the duties of the govt.
Finding the prayers to be reasonable, the court asked the State why relevant steps are not being taken to take on this issue. To this, the State responded that raising gender impartial toilets would require time. However, the State also said that it is not against the idea.
The court then propsed that till the time gender impartial washrooms are rasied, some of the existing public toilets could be transform into gender impartial toilets.
“We do not have a gender impartial toilet even in our HC premises. While such toilets must be raised, in the meantime, if some of the existing public toilets are reserved to be used only by trans persons, their problem can be solved,” the court noted. The court adjourned the matter by a week directing the State counsel to seek instructions.
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY YAKSHU JINDAL.